Levy sought to keep Poland schools excellent

By Susan Tebben



No new taxes.

That’s the point Poland school district administrators are emphasizing about renewal of the 6.2-mill, five-year operating levy on the ballot May 7.

“The taxes will be less than they were in 2003,” when the levy passed the first time, said Don Dailey, interim superintendent.

The owner of a $100,000 home will be paying $189 annually if the renewal passes, about 52 cents a day, Dailey said. The levy would raise $2,297,755 annually.

The levy is down from the 6.9 mills that originally was asked for by the district in 2003, but passage of the levy this time is “critical,” Dailey said.

“If it didn’t pass, we would be in worse shape than we were a few years ago,” Dailey said.

Without passage, the budget would have to be evaluated for other money-saving measures to keep the district afloat.

Before a 5.9-mill levy was passed last November, the Poland district had not seen new tax revenue since the passage of the 6.9-mill levy in 2003.

In the past five years, the district lost $5.5 million in state revenue and had been projecting a deficit at the end of the 2013-14 school year, according to Vindicator files.

Because of passage of the 5.9-mill levy, consideration of open enrollment ended.

“We’ll still look at tightening our belts a bit, but we can breathe a small sigh of relief,” school board member Dr. Larry Dinopoulos told The Vindicator in November.

Poland remains one of the only school districts in the Mahoning Valley without open enrollment.

To save money for the district, Poland’s 144 teachers gave up their step raises in the 2010-11 year and have not had raises since then. Dailey also cited a cost per pupil lower than the state average as a benefit to the district. Currently, the district pays $8,499 per student compared with a state average of $10,564.

The levy will help the district work on building security while maintaining the level of education needed to keep the district’s excellent with distinction state rating, Dailey said.

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